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Cranberry Trifle and Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year

I was off cooking duty on Christmas as two of my lovely aunts hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively. But I did dabble with dessert and as I had some fresh cranberries on hand I wanted to use them to add a festive red color to whatever I was to finally make. Knowing that I had a new package of Savoiardi cookies in the pantry I decided to put together a cranberry trifle with a Savoiardi twist. I “spiked” the cream with a bit of Marsala and fell in love with this Zabaglione-like cream filling (I could have spooned the entire bowl–no
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Koulourakia

I grew up in a three family home (Giagia and one of my aunts lived downstairs; my parents, three sisters and I in the middle; and my aunt, uncle and two cousins upstairs) where doors were never closed and privacy was never an option. We did everything together and we loved it … well, some of us did anyway. My fondest childhood memories are of baking various family recipes for Christmas and Easter with my Giagia, mom, sisters and aunts. We’d gather in one of the three apartments and make three batches of whatever it was we’d set out to bake and
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Seker Pare

For days now I had been trying to get myself into the spirit of the holidays. The house had been decorated for about two weeks but I still hadn’t gotten into that Christmas-y swing of things. But nothing says Christmas for me like the smell of cookies and sweets baking away in the oven. So what better way to get into the Christmas mood than to start baking? By the end of the week, I should have ready our traditional family recipes for koulourakia and kourambiedes but to start things off today I decided to try my hand at a new recipe. This weekend I found myself
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Persimmon Walnut Cake in Orange Syrup

A couple weeks ago I brought home a large shopping bag full of persimmons that my uncle had picked straight off a tree in his garden, right there in the heart of good old Astoria. Every fall I am amazed at just how much fruit this tree produces (the photo you see above of what I was given is probably just a fifth of what my uncle had picked that day, not to mention how many persimmons various birds had feasted on prior to his picking them). I love to eat them as is, but there were so many and as my husband and kids aren’t thrilled with this fruit in particular, I
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Pumpkin and Coconut Milk Panna Cotta

With Thanksgiving coming up and my hosting this particular holiday for the first time, I’ve been planning a menu for weeks. I do that. A lot. Planning I mean. Lists, notes, schedules, etc. Last week I was mulling over desserts. Between myself , my mother and my three sisters we always have the usual pies covered: pumpkin, pecan and apple. I’ve got to admit though that the pumpkin is never my favorite. And I always wish it would be. I love dessert, and I adore desserts that are creamy and rich. I know, it’s bad. But it’s not like I eat them all
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Cupcakes … and an Award

Ever since becoming a mother I naturally have a thing for cupcakes. Every birthday, every holiday, every occasion, (you get the picture) I try to whip up a batch and decorate them to the best of my ability. I always get ahead of myself of course, so the decorating doesn’t always come out as I’ve imagined in my over-achieving mind, but somehow I get the job done. This past weekend, a very good friend of ours celebrated her daughter’s 4th birthday and I put together these sweet treats for her party. This “cake” recipe is extremely moist and the

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